Not many lawyers with a Masters degree can also boast a booming DJing career on the side but it's all in a day's work for Rachel Andrews. When the sun's up, she's providing legal advice; when it's down, she's an energetic entertainer specialising in commercial house and dance.
"Mondays are definitely hard work," she says about maintaining both jobs. "But my workmates all think it's great. Some of the younger ones like to come along to the gigs and joke that I have to play the Christmas party. The older ones ask my advice on music for their kids."
But she's found it also works the other way too, with new club acquaintances suddenly asking for legal advice. "As soon as you say you're a lawyer, they'lre like can I ask you about a speeding ticket," she laughs.
Despite being well versed in piano, saxophone, guitar and drums growing up, Rachel says she never thought she'd be creating music for people. That changed when she started working in a bar and hassled the resident DJ to teach her some tricks. She picked it up quickly and scored some local gigs around Canberra through friends. Not long after, she was hooked on the feeling.
"I love the connection you can make with the crowd," she says. "When you're up on a big stage, you can see the whole room and you can watch people put their hands up or turn to you when the song drops. I really, really like knowing that they'll go home and say 'I had the best night' and I had a part to play in that."
Obviously, a lot of people did and Rachel built up residencies in Canberra hot spots like Academy, North Bar, Bbar, Minque and Tongue & Groove. At the end of 2009, she moved to Melbourne and hit the ground running with a slew of regular gigs, including her residency at Fusion at Crown Casino and a regular slot on the Rogue Dance parties.
Rachel admits it can be challenging for female DJs starting out in a largely male-dominated industry, but now, with five years and countless gigs behind her, the lawyer-come-DJ reckons it's the girls that boast the edge.
"I do think girls have something to offer as DJs that guys don't," she says with a cheeky laugh. "Girls love nothing more than seeing a chick up there that they know will play the music they like, with that female aspect to it. And if you have a dancefloor full of girls, you'll have a club full of people." You can't argue with that logic.